Val Kilmer has an alleged reputation of being difficult to work with. On the
set of 'The Doors' (1991) reports circulated that he didn't want anyone to
talk to him as he was getting in character to play Jim Morrison. Recently,
on the set of one of his latest films it was also alleged that he demanded to
know the astrological signs of the crew and cast members. Regardless of
whether or not these rumours are true, it certainly raises some eyebrows.
In 'The Saint', Kilmer plays Simon Templar, a renegade professional thief and
master of disguise whose latest coup takes him to capitalist Russia where a
former communist and now famous oil tycoon wants Kilmer to steal a formula
essential to making cold fusion work in producing energy to substitute the
world's need for oil. The oil tycoon (Rade Serbedzija) is also running for
the Russian presidency and uses his secret hobby as leader of a Russian Mafia
branch to strong arm his way to his nation's highest office. The scientist
responsible for developing the formula (Elisabeth Shue) has a romantic fling
with Kilmer and they are eventually forced to run for their lives when things
How is 'The Saint'? It can be best described as protracted, muddled, shallow
and downright boring. Kilmer has all the savvy of a James Bond stunt double
only stunt doubles don't talk in movies and Kilmer revolutionizes that
theory. His portrayal of the leading character is terribly inept and Shue
fares no better as a flimsy and helpless character (caricature).
Director Phillip Noyce ('Patriot Games', 'Clear and Present Danger') is a
director of organization rather than of creativity. His instructional
authority on this movie looks amateurish and the film is almost entirely void
of action as the plot chooses to focus on the romance rather than the
intrigue. That's fine but let's not over do it.
'The Saint' is based on the classic television series with Roger Moore whose
suave, charming persona would later land him the role of James Bond and 'The
Saint' may appeal to the fans of Val Kilmer. As for being creative and
shrewd filmmaking, 'The Saint' ain't.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith